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New USDA Health Requirements for Dogs Imported to the U.S. for Resale

In a move to ensure the health and welfare of dogs imported into the U.S., effective November 17, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a new dog importation rule that prohibits the importation of dogs into the United States for resale1 purposes, unless the dogs are determined to be in good health, have received all necessary vaccinations, and are at least 6 months of age.

CKC first learned about the proposed rule in September 2011 and contacted APHIS at that time to clarify details of the proposal, present the interests of our members and to confirm that our member breeders would not be adversely affected. The final rule would suggest that this is still the case.

Importantly, “dogs imported by a person who will use the dog as a personal pet, for sport, for shows or competitions, or for breeding or semen collection are not subject to the 6-month age restriction or any other requirements of this rule”. Quite simply, the rule “does not apply when there is no transfer of ownership or control of a dog to another person for more than de minimis2 consideration3 after the dog’s importation into the United States.”

It should also be noted that the rule “will not apply to puppies imported by legitimate training organizations for the purpose of training the dog to be a working dog.” Also noteworthy: dog importations that are not subject to the new rule” will not be refused entry or seized because they arrive without a permit.”

The USDA/APHIS rule also reminds dog importers to abide by the newly enforced CDC regulations regarding the rabies vaccination protocol, requiring that dogs be fully immunized against rabies before being imported into the U.S. The rabies vaccination must be administered no earlier than 12 weeks of age of the dog and at least 30 days before arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Therefore, the youngest that a puppy may be imported to the U.S. is 4 months of age. CKC encourages members to check the CDC Live Animal Importation web page for full details about importing a dog into the U.S. to avoid any unnecessary delays in shipping.

Following recent changes surrounding the USDA/APHIS and CDC dog importation regulations, the CKC is currently working with organizations to explore exemption options for CKC members. Please watch for further updates.

To view the latest AKC information regarding the USDA/APHIS regulations, please click here. To review the official USDA/APHIS rule, please click here.

1 The USDA/APHIS regulations define the term 'dogs imported for resale' as "dogs imported for sale in wholesale channels, at retail, and for adoption after arrival in the United States, as well as dogs imported for other purposes involving transfer of ownership or control of the dog to another person for more than de minimis consideration after the dog’s arrival in the United States.”

2 The USDA considers de minimis to have "the standard dictionary meaning, which, according to Merriam-Webster is, lacking significance or importance; so minor as to merit disregard."

3The USDA states that 'consideration' means, "the inducement to a contract or other legal transaction; specifically: An Act or forbearance or the promise thereof done or given by one party in return for the act or promise of another."

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